We all know the saying implies that it doesn’t matter what you call something, it doesn’t change the nature of the thing. What we often don’t realize is that it does influence how we perceive something.
Take, for example, the Patriot Act passed after the horrific events of 9/11/2001. This legislation, if named accurately, would have been overwhelmingly opposed as unconstitutional, invasive and un-American. If we had called it the repeal of the Bill of Rights would it have garnered overwhelming support? I think not. Yet under the Patriot Act the US Government can seize someone merely accused of what they consider to be a terrorist act…like taking pictures from a public road of a decommissioned jet on display in front of a local airport, or writing a post on Facebook that questions the activities of the government. These people can be held without due process indefinitely and they can be denied legal council. In fact the government doesn’t even have to tell anyone that they are holding them.
The Food Safety Modernization Act sounds wonderful on its face. But in reality it inhibits local trade and forces many to use mass packaging where contamination is much more likely. The claim is that because these facilities are inspected and approved they are safer but the reality is that often they are not and that if there IS contamination it will likely be spread on a much wider scale. In the end our food supply is more susceptible to mass contamination and our costs are increased due to compliance expenses.
Gun Free Zones are another misleading title. While there is a natural desire to make certain sensitive areas like our schools safe, what do these designations actually do? There is no giant invisible magnet in the sky that magically sucks weapons out of criminal’s possession. Instead, only honest, caring people are disarmed…the very ones who would potentially fend of an attack. Have you ever noticed that almost all of the recent mass murders have been in these so-called gun free zones? Don’t take my word for it, do the research yourself.
The truth is that it is much easier to get people to give up their rights…and associated responsibilities…if we give the act a palatable name. Many will not take the time to read what a proposed law actually says…including those who pass those laws. Remember of Nancy Pelosi’s statement that we should pass the Affordable Care Act so we can find out what’s in it?
Perhaps it is time for the average citizen to pay a bit more attention to what our elected representatives are doing. After all, just because we call it a rose doesn’t make shit smell better.